"Down With Disease" as written by and Trey Anastasio Tom Marshall....
Down with disease
Three weeks in my bed
Trying to stop these demons that keep dancing in my head

Down with disease
Up before the dawn
A thousand barefoot children outside dancing on my lawn, and I keep

Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way
But when I think it's time to leave it all behind
I try to find a way but there's nothing I can say to make it stop

Down with disease and the jungles in my mind
They're climbing up my waterfalls and swingin' on my vines
So I try to hear the music but I'm always losing time
'Cause they're stepping on my rhythm and they're stealin' all my lines
Stealin' all my lines and I keep

Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way
But when I think it's time to leave it all behind
I try to find a way but there's nothing I can say to make it stop


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"Down with Disease" as written by Trey Anastasio Tom Marshall

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, WHO IS SHE MUSIC INC.

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  • +1
    Song MeaningTaken together with "Wolfman's Brother," this song is indeed partly about the issues of touring and the press of the party crowd. Why? Imagine being any of these guys, even Tom Marshall. I remember being a Phish fan when this album came out (we were a bit bummed-- too commercial, man...ha). The scene was all about how cool of a Phish fan were you? Who did you know in VT? Which of your friends was blowing glass in Eugene, OR? Etc. A recent NY Times article at a more straightedge recent show related some of this intensity.

    I can imagine what things were like at the center of the vortex that was Phish circa 1994. Must have been insane.

    Anyway, imagine being any of these guys. Hippies from all over the nation would be trying to hang out and party with you 24/7. "Barefoot Children" outside dancing on your lawn. Literally. Who wouldn't begin to wonder when to take a break from that?

    So here's my interpretation. These fans, well, they had "Downwith" disease. 'Hey, I'm down with Fish-- he came by our after party at the hotel suite after the show...' 'Ooo you're awesome.' And so on.

    Marshall writes a song about being sick, but with the undercurrent of questioning the particular intense social situation that the band found itself in. Double meaning fully intended.

    Wolfman's Brother continues the theme, when "many years ago" that first quasi-intrusive phone call came in from some bearded Phish head (God bless 'em) got a hold of say, Mike's phone number.... the song continues on to describe the intense roar of the crowd-- "across between a hurricane and a ship that's run aground" and "the high pitched cavitation of propellers from afar."

    I'm so Downwith Phish that I done figured it out! :P Not really, but I'm sticking to my guess/interpretation.
    joejefferyCTon October 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite Phish song. I am not sure of the meaning, though..
    LightingCounton April 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a lot different from the mellow chillin phish i'm used to... it's upbeat, a very fun song.
    Ilsedoreon June 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentawesome song. i cant help but agree with the meaning. sometimes i wish i could make things end but i just wait for the right time.
    zengrasshopper11on April 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs phish.com posted an official memo from Trey announcing the end of Phish, this song finally makes sense. We should have seen it coming.

    Trey claimed he had been feeling the band was burning out and didn't want to push it, but rather accept it and move on before they became a "nostalgia act." These thoughts are probably the demons he refers to that "dance in his head"

    In this song, he acknowledges that fan base that Phish has accumulated ("a thousand barefoot children outside dancing on my lawn"), but then also shows desire to leave the band ("waiting for the time I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way.")

    The lyrics then go on to express his anxiety that he can not escape the band, the fans "step on his rhythm" and "steal all his lines."

    He just wants "go on his way..."




    RIP Phish, I will love you forever.
    scarletbegonianbon May 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentScarletbegonian has some good ideas, but I disagree. The lyrics are written by Tom Marshall, not Trey. The song itself was released on the Hoist album, which came out in the early 90's. At this time, Phish was fairly successful and the band was touring like crazy, it is unlikely that Trey had these feelings yet. Rather, it seems to me that the song is simply about being sick. Most of the lines are clever metaphors for what it feels like to have a headache, and to be ready to get better, trying to psych yourself out of being ill, but finding that you just have to wait it out.
    bjengles3on March 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dont think its about the breakup either. well, it really could be about anything, and thats the way i like it for now ;)
    beaneron May 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was one of the few that had a music video, you might've missed it though because no one gave it any air play (Beavis and Butthead turned it off after two seconds). bjengles3 is right, Tom Marshall wrote it and he has said in interviews that he wrote it about when he had mono...I like to think it has a deeper meaning than that, though
    pheelinphineon June 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm gonna go totally cliche and say its about drugs. a bad trip on something to be exact. or maybe just drug addiction. a thousand barefoot children dancing on my lawn. jungles in his mind. sounds pretty trippy to me. also losing time... nothing i can say to make it stop?
    mynameismikeon July 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm gonna go totally cliche and say its about drugs. a bad trip on something to be exact. or maybe just drug addiction. a thousand barefoot children dancing on my lawn. jungles in his mind. sounds pretty trippy to me. also losing time... nothing i can say to make it stop?
    mynameismikeon July 19, 2005   Link

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